The need for a healthcare advocate is growing for seniors. Between 2015 and 2050, the number of those who are 60 years of age and older in the world will double from 12% to an estimated 22%. Chances are you will need to take care of a loved one at some point in your life. To do that, you need to be prepared. Here are four important tips on how to become an effective healthcare advocate in the future.
Manage Doctor Visits
Your aging parent may need help to manage doctor’s visits. The first thing you should do is discuss this with your loved one first to see if they want to help communicate with their doctor. If they say yes, then work together to write down a list of questions that need to be asked during the next appointment. As a caring guardian, go to this visit and record any answers to the questions you have created. Take notes of anything else the doctor says or suggests. Make sure to ask the doctor to explain any unfamiliar medical terms you do not understand.
Perform Safety Checks With Prescriptions
It is critical that you as a patient care advocate perform safety checks with prescriptions on a regular basis. Medication errors cause injuries to many seniors each year. Double-check all refills to make sure the amount, strength, dose, and directions are accurate. For any new prescriptions, ask about any potential side effects. You can keep track of doses to make sure they are taken correctly by putting them in a compartmentalized box. For seniors who may have trouble swallowing, ask the pharmacist if the pill can be split or crushed.
Prepare a Game Plan For Hospital Stays
You will need to prepare a game plan for hospital stays ahead of any planned surgeries or procedures. Find out in advance what Medicaid and Medicare covers. Review any instructions prior to admission such as fasting instructions. Prepare a written list of all current medications prior to the stay. After the surgery or procedure, make sure you understand all recovery instructions and directions for any new medications that may have been prescribed.
Manage Medical Bills Wisely
As an adult guardian, you will need to manage medical bills wisely from time to time. Doctors and hospitals sometimes send patients these bills instead of directing them to the insurance company. If this happens, contact the insurance company to find out if the charges are covered. You may need to send them a copy of the bill. You should also contact the doctor or hospital to report the issue, as well.
Being a healthcare advocate is an important role for you to play in the life of your aging loved one. You can keep them healthy and safe by advocating their care with doctors and tracking prescribed medications. Preparing for hospital stays and managing medical bills is a critical task of healthcare advocacy for vulnerable adults. Keep your aging loved one in good health by following these elder care solutions!